“Are you ready?” Mr. Baker asked.
Everyone stood when the bride entered with her arm around her father. Ted closed his eyes for a second and gave a silent prayer of thanks. The walk to the altar seemed like forever to Lucia. Every step felt heavier than the last one. The smiles of the family, friends, work colleagues and business associates urged her on. She found herself in front of Ted at last. Her father kissed her cheek and gave her hand to Ted who gave it a gentle squeeze. Lucia gave him a quick glance and turned to face the officiating priest.
“We are here to witness the union of….”
The words faded in Lucia’s ears as they went on. She suddenly felt faint. What was she doing? She closed her eyes for a moment and she felt like…another squeeze from Ted brought her back to reality.
“She’s going to see it through,” Mr. Baker whispered to his wife, squeezing his wife’s hand. She nodded.
“I know; it’s just that our daughter has flight tendencies.”
“Not here; not this time.” Mrs. Baker bit her lower lip in anticipation.
“Lucia Monique Baker, do you take Ted Bourbon to be your husband?”
Lucia blinked and stared blankly at the man her heart would never stop beating for. Everything else did not matter.
“Yeah…Yes I do.” Both mothers heaved a sigh of relief.
“Ted Bourbon, do you take Lucia Monique Baker to be your wife?”
“Yes I do.”
“Then by the powers vested in me, I pronounce you as man and wife. You may now salute your bride.” After a brief passionate kiss, they drew back. They shared a glance that spoke volumes of what they were both feeling at the moment.
When they were done with the signing of the papers, they were presented to the congregation.
“I now introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Bourbon.” The people cheered as they stood up, clapping.
The décor at the reception was simply breathtaking. Both mothers indeed took their time to make each detail outstanding and everything perfect.
Lucia rested her chin against Ted’s shoulder as they took their first dance.
“Not now, please.” She looked into his eyes pleadingly. He nodded understandably.
“What could be going on between them?” Mrs. Bourbon asked Mrs. Baker as they sipped their champagne.
“I have no idea but whatever it is, they have done an incredible job keeping it cool.”
“I have a feeling it’s about Anita.” Mrs. Baker cast a sharp look at her.
“What makes you think that?”
“Before the procession, Lucia asked me to make sure Anita was not in the chapel.”
“I know, right? I can’t believe I almost made my son marry her.”
“She would have caused some serious damage to your fortune.”
After some time, the couple swapped partners. Lucia danced with her father whiles Ted danced with his mother.
“You look wonderful, my love,” her father said admiringly.
“Thank you, daddy. And you look gorgeous.”
“All for you, honey.” They both smiled.
A few minutes later, they swapped again. Ted ended up with Lucia’s mother and Lucia, with Ted’s father.
“I sense this unresolved tension between you and your wife. I know it is none of my business but my daughter’s happiness is really important to me. We have both witnessed the flight tendencies Lucia has. Do not give her another reason to disappear, young Bourbon,” Mrs. Baker advised.
“Yes ma’am; I’ll do my very best.”
“Good.” She pinched his cheek playfully.
When the ceremony was almost over, Lucia hugged her mother tightly. She patted her back in a comforting manner.
“You’ll be fine, honey; everything will be fine.”
Ted and his mother watched Lucia hugging her mother.
“You promise to take good care of her?” his mother asked.
“Until my last breath.”
“Is Anita a threat to your peace of mind?” Ted glanced at his mother.
“What do you mean?”
“Lucia asked me to make sure Anita wasn’t at the church. Is she the reason for the tension between you two?”
“Mother…I don’t want to talk about this; not now. Today’s about Lucia and I; and I would like to keep it that way.”
“Fine but if she’s going to be a threat, you better let me know. I can take care of it.”
“I know, mum. If it comes to it, I’ll surely let you know.”
“Congrats; you got yourself a wonderful and sweet girl. I’m proud of you, son.”
“Thank you, mum.”
Still in her mother’s arms, Lucia noticed someone standing far off with folded arms. She looked more closely and recognized the person.
“Excuse me for a minute, mum,” she said and walked towards him.
“Where’s she going?” Ted’s mother asked him.
“I have no idea,” he said, following her with his gaze. When he saw Allen, he got up.
“I’ll be right back, mom.”
“Hey…you look marvelous, Lucia,” Allen complimented.
“Thanks Allen; I must say I’m surprised to see you here.”
“Yeah, considering the fact that I didn’t receive an invite to the occasion but still, I wanted to see you. Have some closure, you know?” Allen said. Lucia nodded. Ted joined them.
“Hi Allen, surprised to see you here,” Ted said, slipping his arm around Lucia’s waist. Lucia stared down her feet.
“Yeah; I came to wish you…both all the happiness in the world. I hope you two make each other happy every day.”
“Thank you, Allen,” Ted said. They shook hands. Lucia glanced at him. Allen took her hand and kissed it.
“Thank you, Allen.” He smiled at her and walked away. Ted kissed her hair.
“It is time for us to leave,” he said softly. She nodded.
When they entered their reserved suite, they both gasped in astonishment.
“I think a thank-you card won’t be enough for everything our mothers have done for us,” Lucia said.
“I totally agree.” He closed the door.
Ted came out of the bathroom to find Lucia staring outside, sipping wine. Ted walked behind her and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her shoulder.
“Mr. and Mrs. Bourbon, sounds sweeter each time.” She chuckled. She turned to face her husband.
“We are married.”
“Yes we are.”
“Do you want to know the dream that woke me up this morning? The day I’ve been waiting for all my life?” she asked. When Ted said nothing, she answered, “It was me seeing you in bed with Anita.”
“What for, the bad dream? That’s not your fault.”
“But it is; you’ve thinking about what happened between Anita and I and it is normal for you to dream about it.”
“And it’s torture. So to put my mind to rest, why don’t you tell me what happened?” Ted glanced at her, puzzled.
“Tell you what exactly?” he asked.
“How it unfolded between you two when I was away.”
“You want to know whether she seduced me or I just went in for her.”
“And everything else…with details.”
“And why would I subject you and me both to such emotional torture?”
“Because I want some closure. I’m hoping that it wasn’t as bad as I’ve been imagining it,” Lucia said,
“And you want to do that tonight of all nights?” Ted asked,
“What is wrong with tonight?”
“Seriously? It is our wedding night! Can’t we forget Anita and concentrate on us for just tonight?”
“And do what? Make love?” Lucia asked, half-chuckling. Ted shrugged.
“We do have to consummate our union.” Lucia snorted.
“Sorry, that’s not going to happen tonight,” she said, sipping her wine.
“When I look at you, all I see is Anita touching and kissing you and that makes my heart break so until I can put that disturbing image behind me, nothing is going to happen between us,” Lucia said firmly.
“Then why did you get married when it is obvious you’re not ready?”
“After everything our parents have done to see us at the altar?”
“So what, you’re here because of our parents not because of us?”
“Don’t twist my words, Ted. I just want to forget about you and Anita…”
“Then let me help you forget. Let’s celebrate us being together at last,” Ted said, holding her face. He kissed her. Lucia pulled away.
“No, I can’t do this.”
“Because I’d feel like I’m watching you kiss Anita all over again. Just tell me what happened and…”
“I’m not going to do that, Lucia. You can’t ask me to do that.”
“But I am! I want to know; maybe you were drunk and so she took advantage of you and you have no clear memories of that day or night or whether you two were both sober and you just fell for the sexual tension between you two. Whether you did it because you were hurt about me leaving and this whole tape thing with Allen…”
“Come on Lucia, don’t even go there.”
“Was it a reason? Did you do it to feel better about my tape incident?”
“Were you drunk?”
“No! I’m not doing this. I won’t let you do this. End of discussion,” Ted said and entered the bathroom and slammed the door. Lucia sipped her wine quietly.